Apple May Invest $1 Billion in Softbank’s Tech Fund: Report

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has negotiated with Japanese internet and telecom giant SoftBank (owner of Sprint) about investing up to $1 billion in what the newspaper calls “the world’s largest technology fund”.

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SoftBank is attempting to raise $100 billion for its SoftBank Vision Fund, and if Apple decides to invest, it would connect the world’s most valuable company with one of the world’s largest pools of investment capital, says the WSJ. The investment fund launch is targeted for next year.

According to people familiar with the matter, Apple is hoping to gain insight into emerging technologies, and this would represent a shift in its investment strategy. You may recall that Apple recently invested $1 billion in Didi Chuxing Technology, Uber’s rival. Didi acquired Uber’s Chinese assets shortly after the Apple investment. SoftBank is also a Didi investor.

SoftBank is planning to invest at least $25 billion in the fund, while another $45 billion will likely be poured into the Vision Fund from a Saudi Arabian government fund.

Apple and SoftBank have been working together for some while now. SoftBank inked an exclusive deal with Apple in 2008 to sell iPhones in Japan. Thanks to that deal, SoftBank had become Japan’s third-biggest carrier by 2011.